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09-03-2002, 11:37 PM
Hi All,

After reading Kevin Wilbanks' (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?postid=26746#post26746) reply, I started thinking about how science would view aikido. I'm not talking about those who would establish Ki as a particle/energy stream or investigate the validity of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). I was trying to find things in psychology that could possibly explain the aikido experience from a western viewpoint, without any theories on Ki.

After looking in the psychology section, I came up with two items. The first item is the subject of this thread, the flow experience.
Flow (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060920432/qid=1031116339/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/102-7164848-9580114) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, pg 4
...From their accounts of what it felt like to do what they were doing, I developed a theory of optimal experience based on the concept of flow - the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it...
The author specifically points to martial arts and lists aikido in his book.
Flow pg 106
...These martial arts were influenced by Taoism and by Zen Buddhism, and thus they also emphasized consciousness-controlling skills. Instead of focusing exclusively on physical performance, as Western martial arts do, the Eastern variety is directed toward improving the mental and spiritual state of the practitioner. The warrior strives to reach the point where he can act with lightning speed against opponents, without having to think or reason about the best defensive or offensive moves to make. Those who can perform it well claim that fighting becomes a joyous artistic performance, during which the everyday experience of duality between mind and body is transformed into a harmonious one-pointedness of mind. Here again, it seems appropriate to think of the martial arts as a specific form of flow...
I know it's hard to sum up a book in two quotes, but is this aikido to you? Is aikido a flow experience or has this psychologist gotten it all wrong? Is there anything he might have left out?

09-04-2002, 03:42 AM
Hi Ted,

I'd agree with the concept of not having to think of the best moves to make. I've never had a real situation where I've had time to think with my cerebral cortex. In one way, I think that is why it is good to repeatedly practise non-harmful moves, so that you don't excessively damage someone.

I would say this distinction between martial arts psychology and attainment arises from the seperation of mental and physical welfare in the west.


09-04-2002, 08:52 AM
As an aside, one of the students of Professor Csikszentmihalyi came and interviewed my teacher (while I did "simultaneous" translation from Japanese to English) on a research project. She sent me the "Flow" book afterwards to thank me for my help...

As far as the above quotes go, all I can think of is the term "takemusu"...

-- Jun

09-04-2002, 11:22 AM
As far as the above quotes go, all I can think of is the term "takemusu"...
The words that came to my mind were "mushin mugamae"... :)



09-04-2002, 12:31 PM
The words that came up to my mind were "Jamba Juice".

Time to go buy some.

09-04-2002, 12:35 PM
Ok. I admit it. My japanese is terrible. Would you please translate those two?

09-04-2002, 04:08 PM
Ok. I admit it. My japanese is terrible. Would you please translate those two?
I'm not certain how 'takemusu' translates exactly, so I'll leave that for someone who knows better. :)

'Mushin Mugamae' literally means 'no-mind, no-posture', and at one level its about not consciously making a plan of what you're going to do, which in turn means not adopting a specific posture. In a way I guess its like 'going with the flow', by keeping your mind clear of pre-conceived ideas your options remain open to instinctively do the right thing.

Like so much aikido, that is *so* much easier to say than it is to do! :)

The reason it sprung to mind is that I study Shodokan aikido, and 'mushin mugamae' is unofficially our motto. It was one of Prof. Tomiki's favourite sayings, and its written large in Tomiki sensei's beautiful calligraphy hanging up on the wall of Shodokan honbu dojo in Osaka.


ps: I have *no* idea what Jamba Juice is, what on earth is a jamba, and how do you go about squeezing the juice out of one?

09-04-2002, 04:35 PM
ps: I have *no* idea what Jamba Juice is, what on earth is a jamba, and how do you go about squeezing the juice out of one?
(sips some chocolate Jamba Juice) :cool:

"Jamba Juice" is the name of the store chain which wisely situate themselves in financial districts, and they produce pricey, but very... unique... high quality drinks... if they could be called drinks... because they're half-solid... you gotta try one to understand.

There's simple things like orange juices, and there's strange but invigorating things like their Power Boost, there's a belly-massaging Chocolate Boost... etc etc

09-04-2002, 04:48 PM
mmm... (drool)




09-04-2002, 07:23 PM
Ok. I admit it. My japanese is terrible. Would you please translate those two?
From the language section of this site.
Takemusu Aiki - A "slogan" of the founder's meaning "infinitely generative martial art of aiki." Thus, a synonym for aikido. The scope of aikido is not limited only to the standard, named techniques one studies regularly in practice. Rather, these standard techniques serve as repositories of more fundamental principles (KIHON). Once one has internalized the KIHON, it is possible to generate a virtually infinite variety of new aikido techniques in accordance with novel conditions. My personal interpetation is that it's like jazz. In jazz you improvise and play what's correct for the moment. The same thing occurs in Takemusu Aiki, you're creating on-the-spot or if you're doing it in a middle of a randori, you're creating it on-the-fly. :)

When the founder was teaching in Hawaii, he had the uke attack six different times and each time he did a different throw. After the last throw he said, "Do that".

The students were confused and asked, "Do you want us to do six throws or do you want us to do the last throw?"

"Do the last throw," he replied. "I did the other five throws because his ki changed."
...there's a belly-massaging Chocolate Boost... etc etcBelly-massaging? Whatever happened to Orange Julius (http://www.orangejulius.com/default.asp?cookie%5Ftest=1)? :confused:

Kevin Leavitt
09-04-2002, 08:26 PM
read the "Quantum and the Lotus". Good book written by two PhD physicist. One grew up a buddhist and became a scientist. The other a scientist who became a monk.

They get deep, deep into quantum physics and explore traditional eastern thought to include energy (KI).

Bruce Baker
09-05-2002, 07:47 AM
Actually, the quotes pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Kind of like seeing the bokken or jo come at you in slow motion, and waiting for the moment to move that marks full commitment by your training partner.

Sometimes there are some very strange looks of concern or fear of injury as they realize they have past the point of safely controling a strike, or commited attack, but then once you both get in the groove, or in the same state of mind, these things of state of mind during training make even the faster movements seem enjoyable and safe.